Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Scenes

Hurricane Sandy didn't just affect the physically affect New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, it also had an impact on Off Broadway too.

One of the main story lines in "If There is..." is about global warming and after Sandy,  the story and the audiences response took on a different meaning.

Before "If there is..." finishes up on Sunday, spoke with the cast when they came from their hiatus and how the play is different post Sandy.


prairiegirl said...

So here is a short article that was circulated on Jake several weeks ago. I'm going to re-post it in its entirety. See what you notice.

Jake Gyllenhaal Recalls Lessons Learned from Ang Lee, Sam Mendes, David O. Russell and More"

The young actor already has a wealth of collaborations behind him

By Kristopher Tapley Friday, Nov 30, 2012 12:50 PM

One of the striking things you note immediately about Jake Gyllenhaal's portfolio of work is the caliber of filmmakers he's worked with. As a supplement to our feature interview with the star of the off-Broadway production "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet" and the screen's "End of Watch," we asked Gyllenhaal if he could recall what he's taken from the experience of working with a handful of these esteemed craftsmen -- three of whom feature in the Oscar race this year.

In 2005, Gyllenhaal landed his first and only (to date) Oscar nomination for Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain." The film was based on E. Annie Proulx's "New Yorker" short story about two cowhands who enter into a forbidden homosexual relationship in 1960s Wyoming. Gyllenhaal starred opposite the late Heath Ledger in the film, which tells a story of love as an unstoppable force of nature.

"He's called a master for a reason, because he truly is," Gyllenhaal says of Lee. "What I learned from his is that silence, particularly between an actor and a director, is the most powerful, the most motivating, sometimes the most manipulative but ultimately the most inspiring choice for a director and actor. Most of the time, if you have an actor who's intuitive, if you give them their space and the opportunity to create something and find something -- just like a shift here, a little shift there -- massive things can happen. What I learned from Ang was invaluable."

2007 brought a collaboration with notoriously meticulous filmmaker David Fincher on the dense and lengthy exploration of the trail of terror blazed by the Zodiac killer in the Bay Area of Northern California. "Zodiac" didn't manage much awards traction but is largely considered one of Fincher's finer moments, featuring one of Gyllenhaal's finer performances.

"I learned so much from David," Gyllenhaal says. "I think I learned more from David than any director I've worked with. What I walked away with from my experience with David is an utter respect for the director and their position and their power. And that as an actor, your job is to service that vision. That is your job. You must do that in every possible way. I also learned that there are two things that work when making a movie with David, or in general: to take the work that you do as serious as life and death when you're doing it, but then at the other end to realize that it's just a movie. And if you can keep that perspective, you'll be all good."

The very same year as "Brokeback Mountain," Gyllenhaal was featured in a leading capacity in Sam Mendes's Gulf War dissection, "Jarhead." Based on the memoir by former Marine Anthony Swofford and drawn from works of existentialism such as Albert Camus's "The Stranger" (which is even featured in the story), the film depicts a soldier at his wits' end, yearning to matter in a war that seems to make no sense, and it clearly gave Gyllenhaal a unique psychological opportunity as an actor.


prairiegirl said...


"If I ever check in with myself, if I ever have any doubt about my work or my skills or my mind as an actor, I always go back to working with Sam, because he was so trusting, so confident in my skill," Gyllenhaal says. "He empowered me so much as an actor. What is a theme amongst these directors that you mention is the ability to have so much confidence in what they do and the story they're telling that they give the actors space. Sometimes there's nit-picking, and obviously with Fincher's repetition and there's a meticulousness with the way he frames things -- and that's all of his movies, and that's why he's brilliant -- but there's a space. There's a respect. There's a sense of the major league. You know what I mean with that? I think I learned from Sam -- he was the best acting director and coach that I've ever worked with. The things I learned about acting from him I've taken with me everywhere I've gone."

One film Gyllenhaal starred in which no one has seen, or ever will, it appears (due to legal disputes with the film's financiers, among other things) is David O. Russell's "Nailed," featuring the actor opposite stars like Jessica Biel, James Marsden and Catherine Keener. It joins films like Tony Kaye's "Black Water Transit" and Jerry Lewis's "The Day the Clown Cried" as efforts lost to the ages, but that doesn't change the fact that Gyllenhaal did the work and took plenty from the experience.

"I learned from David that no matter how brilliant you are as a director, no matter how brilliant the script you're directing is, no matter how cool the cast is, sometimes -- it's unbelievable -- but no one will ever see it," Gyllenhaal says. "That's a huge dose of reality in some way. But I also learned that David's brilliance is in abstraction. And there's an aspect of joy that exists in David, and he's always looking for the darkness in the humor, and then always looking for the humor in the darkness. David has a real sense of darkness and a real sense of humor. You can't get to the same place that David can take you. Only David can take you there."

In 2009, Gyllenhaal was afforded the privilege of working on "Brothers" with Jim Sheridan, who made his mark on the medium via films like "My Left Foot," "In the Name of the Father" and "In America." A remake of Susanne Bier's Danish film "Brødre," "Brothers" tells the story of how the war in Afghanistan tragically affects a young man thought missing for a time who returns home only to see that his wife and brother (played by Natalie Portman and Gyllenhaal respectively) have grown closer together -- too close. It was an interesting flip side of the "Jarhead" coin for the actor.

(Gyllenhaal takes a moment to fully consider the role call: "You're baffling me. Like, what a f***ing blessing it is to work with all these people.")

"I loved Jim," Gyllenhaal says. "Jim was just game for anything. He was constantly discovering, constantly trying to figure it out, never stopping, full of will. He is the epitome of, 'If there's a will, there's a way.' Maybe it's his cultural background. Maybe it's just the type of movies he decided to make, the themes. I remember Jim coming up to me and saying, 'Hey, I have an idea about this scene.' The scene had nothing to do with this action but he's like, 'I think in the middle of this scene you should jump down in the middle of the snow and start making a snow angel.' And I was like, 'That's brilliant.' He's like, 'Try it. Let's do it.' And it was always an adventure. It was like you were adventuring out into this world of the unknown every day with him. I loved that the most.'"


prairiegirl said...


Gyllenhaal worked alongside an on-fire Anne Hathaway in Edward Zwick's 2010 effort "Love and Other Drugs." Based on a novel by former Viagra salesman Jamie Reidy, the film walks a high wire of tonal shifts and is highly sexualized, unique in Gyllenhaal's career. Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway received Golden Globe nominations for their performances.

"Ed was -- it's funny," Gyllenhaal begins. "All these guys and different times in your life, you know? Ed was at a critical point in my life as a person and as an actor. To this day, he functions as a sort of big brother, paternal to me. His precision and his -- he was so tough with me and at the same time so loving, you know? He just wouldn't let up. Sometimes Ed would whisper things to me like 'go do this' or 'try that' that would break so many rules that I found myself getting nervous. Like he'd give an intention in the scene that was so way off what he had written but it would open us up into a whole other world and it was like an adventure, too. But a little more violent, a little bit more, like, dangerous, you know? I loved that about working with Ed, but I learned so much from him. I mean, that journey with us was a life journey, too."

Finally, Gyllenhaal's collaboration with David Ayer on "End of Watch," a pivotal moment not only in his life but in his career.

"That m*****f***er changed my life," Gyllenhaal says bluntly. "I don't know how to put it any other way. He took this kid, who had, like, grown up in LA, relatively easy lifestyle, and he threw him into a world that I definitely had preconceived notions about and had my own stigma about, not only with law enforcement but also southeast LA, all that, and he just blew it open. He just showed me a place that he called home, that changed his life, that made him who he is and it's been the most influential part of the world I've been. I made some of my closest friends I have to this day because of the experience with him. He was like, 'You're going to do this. You've got to walk through fire.' And literally. We were in a controlled burn with the Orange County Fire Department, sitting there in full get-up in a house that was burning. Me, Dave, Michael [Peña], with like smoke down, we're on the ground and it's like a thousand degrees if we put our hand up, you know what I mean? He really threw me into the fire and all the risks were real, and there are people who don't f*** around and there was no movie stuff. There was no safety net. And I think that in a majority of life lived with safety nets, someone who pulls that out and says, 'That's for real. Are you ready for this?' That changes your life."

And that's just a sampling of a group that also includes talents as varied as Duncan Jones, Mike Newell, John Madden, Roland Emmerich, Richard Kelly and Nicole Holofcener. But it's clear the actor has come a long way from his first work on screen as a child in 1991's "City Slickers," and he'll be the first to tell you he owes the lessons of that journey to his collaborators.

From Hitflix.

prairiegirl said...

Everyone will see something different. What I see is an interview that started out so promising and then it just disintegrated from creepy Ed Zwick to David Ayer. I saw Ang Lee, one of the most brilliant, proven directors out there spoken of respectfully yet his mention pales to the 'walk on water' accolades that David Ayer received. Why is that? Ang Lee? Really?

What I saw was how Jake talks about Ed Zwick "whispering" to him. What directors whisper into their actors' ears? lol.

I saw Jake mention 2010 as being a critical time in his life.

I saw a real pottymouth.

I saw the comment on David Ayer read just like all of his other 10,999 comments and interview answers from the EOW press junket. Almost verbatim.

Was this interview done all at once? Or was it a piece together? Either way, I just noticed a real digression as the answers followed the timeline of his movies.

To me, it was a real parallel to how Jake has become at least what we see now. Not how he is in his own home or with his real friends. But what is out there for the public.

Art said...

I saw Ang Lee, one of the most brilliant, proven directors out there spoken of respectfully yet his mention pales to the 'walk on water' accolades that David Ayer received. Why is that? Ang Lee? Really?

David Ayer gets those accolades because that's the movie currently out and getting great reviews for Jake's acting. Jake has said in the past he found Ang Lee's direction frustrating; i.e., Ang didn't really give them any direction.

What I saw was how Jake talks about Ed Zwick "whispering" to him. What directors whisper into their actors' ears? lol.

Probably a lot more than we know about.

destiny said...

Jake may have higher praise for the current director, but he still says good things about all of them. This whole piece seemed like pr for his directors, and to show that he gets along with everyone. I think he's had issues with almost all his directors in one way or another, be it minor or major.

destiny said...

I wonder what kind of fights he had with his co-star from the play while sharing a dressing room. From the tone I'm guessing it's something crazy and silly, and not that they had real fights.

Cloud 9 said...

with Jarhead, you couldn't beat the source material. The book was so beautifully written, so sensitive and lyrical, so personal - and by a soldier. I was amazed. I loved it.

Jersey Tom said...

I loved Jarhead also. It was the first movie I saw Jake in. He was terriffic. I always wondered if he hadn't been nominated for best supporting actor for Brokeback if maybe he would have been nominated for Jarhead. I believe they were the same year. I went to see Jarhead becasue I had heard Jake was going to be one of the leads in Brokeback and I really didn't know who he was. I had never seen Donnie Darko or Bubbleboy. After his performance in Jarhead I was so excited that he and Heath were going to play Jack and Ennis. I wasn't that impressed with Heath until Monster's Ball when he was awesome.
I am so happy those two got the parts in Brokeback. I read last night that when Gus Vant Sant was supposed to direct Brokeback the actors that were up for the parts were Matt Damon and Joacquin Phoenix. Damon said he actually turned down the part because he had played a gay character in The Talented Mr. Ripley and there were a lot of rumors that he and Ben affleck were a couple after Good Will Hunting. Matt said the rumors bothered him but he never addressed them because he had a lot of gay friends and he didn't want to offend them. Got to wonder if Brokeback would have been the same with Matt and Joacquin.

Jersey Tom said...

The reason that Matt spoke about that time is that he just completed an HBO movie in which he plays the long time boyfriend of Liberace. Liberace is played by Michael Douglas. Apparantely Matt and Mike have some heavy makeout scenes in the movie.

truth hurts sometimes said...

Jake has a tendency to be quite the blathering suck up. He's actually gotten worse over the years.

Ang didn't really give them any direction.

Evidently, he gave him enough direction to get him an Academy Award nomination. Ang knew what he was doing with Jake. He indicated that Heath was prepared every day he came on set. Whereas Jake came with a different idea on every scene. Jake is mercurial as well as frustrating. He wants to play when he's on set to see where a scene will go, when he should learn to be prepared and know what he's doing.

sass said...

TY so much for sharing this with us...I never would have seen or read this article if not for coming here.
Amazing the directors Jake has worked with...I found myself wishing he had done Silver Linings...he has a scary side of himself, to me, that shows up when he's doing his mental movie dance...which is why I loved DD so much...and still often watch it when I am able to...and of course BBM...though I have to wall off my tears when I see the Magnificent Heath on screen.
When Jake was a youngster, 19 y/o I think, on a talk show, Jon Stewart's I think, he said he wished something awful would happen to him, so he could experience personally, feelings of sadness pain...and it happened...I am sorry he did experience such pain because such pain is not easily borne.
Jake is a good man and I feel privileged to have followed his career... since forever.
Again TY...

the real m said...

Good article. I view this as movie PR largely. When a movie is being filmed and promoted at release time all the actors just loved working together. Afterwards you hear all about the juicy gossip, affairs and cat fights. Jake does not reveal the real person to the public. He has said those very words himself.

I cant believe so much time has passed since Brokeback. It seems like it was just yesterday. I tried to watch it again about a week ago but was too tired from my recent traveling. I could not watch Heath for a long time, but am ready to see him again.